Kanaan Considers Amended Wages Decree Balanced, Fair

Change and Reform MP Ibrahim Kanaan said on Tuesday that the Finance and Budget Parliamentary Committee worked on three aspects to rectify the new wages scale decree, which was issued by the cabinet in March.

“We were able to rectify the cabinet's decree and allocated new revenues for the treasury,” Kanaan the head of the committee said in a press conference.

He pointed out that the new treasury's revenues will not have an impact on the poor, describing the report issued by the committee as “ balanced and fair.”

“Our study focused on three aspects, reform, allocations and preserving the rights of the public employees,” Kanaan noted.

The lawmaker said that the “ball was in the court of the committee that was able to achieve reforms within the available capabilities.”

Kanaan hailed the work of the MPs in the committee and the parliament's General secretariat.

“The committee canceled an article in the salaries decree issued by the cabinet that says the boost would be payed in installments,” he said.

The MP added that the “new salaries increase will be retroactive.”

The committee stressed in its report on the importance of carrying out the necessary reforms to better provide the public sector workers with their rights.

Kanaan said that the state treasury will have more than LL2,300 billion to cover over the presence of 180,000 public sector employees, including military personnel.

On Saturday, Kanaan referred the new wages report to the parliament's General Secretariat.

Even if the draft-law was referred by the parliamentary committee to the national assembly for endorsement, it is not clear when the parliament would convene to approve it.

On Wednesday, the Syndicate Coordination Committee postponed a decision to go on strike until the Finance and Budget Parliamentary Committee finishes drafting its report and refers it to the to the parliament after Kanaan said that the committee would wrap up its report during the weekend.

The committee began discussing the new wage scale in July after President Michel Suleiman signed the decree mid-June.

The decree was endorsed by the government in March following weeks of protests across Lebanon.

However, the SCC, a coalition of private and public school teachers and public sector employees, began threatening recently to hold strikes almost a year after staging nation-wide protests over the parliaments failure to endorse the decree that was adopted by the cabinet.

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